9th May 2016

Private governance arrangements of halal food in the Netherlands

Laura Kurth and Pieter Glasbergen published an article on the consumption of halal food as an expression of the Muslim identity. Within Islam, different interpretations of ‘halal’ exist and the pluralistic Muslim community requests diverse halal standards. Therefore, adaptive governance arrangements are needed in the halal food market. Globalization and industrialization have complicated the governance of halal food. A complex network of halal governors has developed from the local to the global level. In this paper, we analyze to what extent halal certification bodies in the Netherlands address the needs of the Muslim community and how they are influenced by international halal governance. The Netherlands serves as a case study with its growing Muslim community and its central position in international trade. The data comes from literature review and eleven qualitative semi-structured interviews with the most prominent actors in the Dutch halal governance system. Our analysis shows that the halal governance system in the Netherlands is weakly institutionalized and hardly adaptive to the needs of a heterogeneous Muslim community. Improvements are needed concerning stakeholder engagement, transparency, accessibility, impartiality and efficiency. The article can be downloaded here.